Despite advances in health care and technology, glaring disparities still exist in some population groups as classified by age, sex, income and race and ethnicity.

By the numbers

The facts are alarming. More than 100 million American adults and children do not have dental insurance. Only 34 percent of uninsured Americans had a dental visit in the past year, and nearly 15 million Medicaid enrolled children do not receive dental care. In addition to these issues, tooth decay in children is increasing while children and adults are continuing to die from untreated dental disease.

"While we acknowledge and support health outreach efforts around the globe, we recognize that it is also very important to remain firmly rooted in our conviction that humanitarianism begins at home.”

A matter of access

Many leading associations and companies in the oral health industry, including the National Dental Association (NDA), Oral Health America and the American Dental Association (ADA), view “access” to professional oral health care as a matter of social justice. Many of these parties have begun to address this reality by increasing access, eliminating disparities, and improving health equity in underserved and vulnerable populations.

Dr. Carrie Brown, NDA President, states, “We have launched a crusade for healthier communities that challenges the status quo. We will meet those in need in their community and support our providers, who have made a commitment to remain in these communities where they are most needed. While we acknowledge and support health outreach efforts around the globe, we recognize that it is also very important to remain firmly rooted in our conviction that humanitarianism begins at home.”